Since baby teeth eventually fall out, why put crowns on them? There are reasons to put crowns or caps on baby teeth, but not all baby teeth need them.
What Exactly is a Dental Crown?
A dental crown is similar to a protective cover that is placed over the baby tooth to help hold it in place until it is ready to fall out on its own. Some people refer to it as a cap.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
- Baby teeth act as space holders for the permanent teeth.
- Baby teeth help guide the next permanent teeth into place.
- Baby teeth help children chew food and speak properly during their critical developmental years.
When is it Necessary to put Crowns on Baby Teeth?
If there is damage to the baby teeth, they may need the added support and protection that the crowns can offer. Having caps put on baby teeth give them reinforcement until the permanent teeth come in to replace them.
Causes for Crowns on Baby Teeth
- Tooth Decay – Tooth decay is the number one reason that a crown may be needed on your child’s baby tooth. 42% of children between the ages of 2-11 suffer from cavities.
- Chipped or Broken Tooth – Accidents happen, and children often have plenty. A chipped or broken tooth from a hard fall or other impact may need treatment with a crown.
What Types of Crowns are Available for Baby Teeth?
The location of where the crown is needed is the deciding factor on which type of crown to use.
- Stainless Steel – When a crown on a molar is needed, stainless steel is the type used the most because it is more durable on the teeth that do the most chewing. Due to the blend of various metals, the stainless steel crown helps prevent corrosion that can be exacerbated by saliva. Because they do not have a natural tooth color, the best place for these types of crowns is in the back area of the mouth. This type of crown is also the most cost-effective.
- Composite Strip – This type of crown is used primarily on the front baby teeth as they are made with a clear plastic form or mold and will blend more with the natural color of the teeth.
- Polycarbonate – This is another type of crown used on the front baby teeth and costs less than the other options, but since their durability varies, this is a temporary restoration.
- Resin Veneer – This type of crown combines the durability of the stainless steel with the beauty of a resin facing, so its use can be on both the front and back baby teeth. The resin veneer crowns are typically more expensive than stainless steel, composite and polycarbonate crowns.
- Zirconia Ceramic – The zirconia ceramic, also known as the “white crown” can be used on the front or back teeth, and is considered the top of the line when it comes to durability and aesthetics, but is the most costly out of all the crown types. Zirconia ceramic, comprised of porcelain material does not bend, mold or adjust as the stainless steel type does. Therefore, getting the perfect fit for your child’s tooth may be a challenge, and can lead to bacteria re-entering your child’s tooth.
What Problems can Develop From Having Crowns Put on Baby Teeth?
- Discomfort or Sensitivity – If the baby teeth become sensitive to touch or temperature, using toothpaste for sensitive teeth may alleviate the problem. If pain occurs when biting down, the cap placed on the baby teeth may be too high at which point you should contact your dentist for an easy adjustment.
- Chipped Crown – This problem can occur with all-porcelain or porcelain fused to metal made crowns. If the chip is small, this can be repaired leaving the crown in the mouth with a composite resin, which is usually a temporary fix. If the problem is more extensive, a crown replacement may be needed.
- Loose Crown – The cement may wash out from underneath the crown which causes it to become loose but also can allow bacteria to leak in and cause decay. If the crown becomes loose, contact your dentist.
- Crown Falls Off – This problem sometimes happens due to decaying of the underlying baby tooth or the cement material used to place the crown becoming loose. If the crown falls off, clean the crown and the front of the baby tooth, and call your dentist’s office immediately for specific instructions until the dentist can see you.
If you encounter any of these issues, it’s important to seek infant dental services in your area.
What Steps can you Take to Avoid Needing Crowns put on Baby Teeth?
Dental health should start early and teaching your children good dental habits is a must. These four steps should be implemented to help avoid the need for crowns on baby teeth.
- Brushing the teeth twice a day and flossing is imperative.
- Trying to avoid chewing or biting on hard food like candy and ice.
- When playing sports, children should wear a mouth guard for added protection.
- Schedule regular checkups and cleanings twice a year with your dentist.
The baby teeth, even though they eventually fall out, are vital as they are the backbone of the future permanent teeth. Taking care of the baby teeth will help with the longevity and health for the permanent teeth. If cavities are a concern or if an accident happens and your child chips a tooth, getting a cap put on that baby tooth will be the security blanket you need as a parent.
For answers to all your dental concerns and excellent Las Vegas pediatric dental care, contact Children’s Dentistry! Even if your child’s teeth are healthy, we can help with preventative measures to leave you and your child smiling.